Australian Institute for Machine Learning (AIML) researcher Dr Wei Zhang, alongside Clever Mushroom founders Dr Queen Nguyen and Dr Trung Vo, have received a $420,000 Australian Research Council (ARC) Early Career Industry Fellowship to create a portable AI and IoT technology system to enhance mushroom cultivation.
The aim of the project is to develop a system that increases resource efficiency, improves harvest yields and reduces waste for industry partners and horticultural producers. Clever Mushroom, founded in 2020, utilises smart sensors, data analytics, robotics and AI to grow a range of exotic mushrooms, including black pearl, coral tooth, lion’s mane and shineji.
The mushroom industry is worth a substantial $600 million to Australia’s economy, and the project has the potential to benefit the industry as a whole by resolving existing issues with mushroom cultivation. The proposed solution will learn new agricultural techniques, evaluate ripeness and develop an ideal environment for cultivating mushrooms, reducing the challenges that mushroom growers often face.
This innovative project represents the type of collaboration that the ARC Early Career Industry Fellowship hopes to achieve, building relationships between academics and industry to translate research into commercialised outcomes. The benefits of this type of partnership include driving technological advancements, creating jobs and providing a boost to the economy.